Britons spent almost £41 billion on “dispensable” items during lockdown “in an effort to have more fun while at home”, a new Barclaycard Payments study showed on Thursday.
It said that 33% “found that their purchases made lockdown more enjoyable and 28% bought things that would make them, or their family happy”.
The big surprise was fashion. While takeaway food and drink was the most common purchase, fashion — or more specifically ‘summer wardrobe’ pieces like sundresses, shorts, and shoes, aided by sunny weather — were the second most common items brought during the period. That was despite the wider category being seen as not performing that well during the lockdown.
Loungewear, which gained a lot of attention because of its lockdown-relevance, was also in the top 10 list but only came in sixth. Meanwhile, nightwear was ninth and lingerie just missed out on top 10 status at number 11.
On the beauty front, make-up was in eighth place and shaving items came in 16th, even though many men seemed to be shaving less often. But perhaps it’s less surprising as it seems men also switched to shaving subscriptions, rather than having to venture into those physical stores that were open.
The list goes against the accepted wisdom that says loungewear would have been the top purchase and that lingerie was also more popular than daywear. The fact that summer dresses and shoes, plus make-up, were key items does come as a surprise.
How accurate are the stats? Well, given that Barclaycard Payments processes close to half of the UK’s credit and debit card transactions, it should have a fairly good insight into what people were buying in recent months.
Overall, the report also said that 36% of UK adults bought clothing, beauty, and accessories, with this figure jumping to 47% for women, with an average spend of £384.70 per person.
And 13% of consumers went on a fitness binge, spending £682 on average to buy sports and outdoor gear. Men spent almost triple the amount that women did on sports clothing and equipment, paying out an average of £941.40 compared to £324.00.
In general, it seems consumers spent an average of £771.34 each during the lockdown, as more retailers capitalized on the demand for more at-home entertainment.
It’s interesting too that men spent the most, at £1,014.08 per person, with women averaging £571.58. But overall, the two highest-spending groups were Londoners and those at home with children under 18, making purchases amounting to £2,812.26 and £2,070.35 respectively.